5 Essential Stages of a Scene (and of Story!)

1. Inciting Incident

“…the big event that kicks of your story.” (or Scene)

2. Progressive Complication

“…the escalating degrees of conflict that face the protagonist.”

In other words, a Turning Point


1. Character action, or

2. Revelation

3. Crisis

“…a question that offers a choice between two options.”


  • The Best Bad choice
  • Two Great Things (Irreconcilable Goods)

4. Climax

“…the moment when a character acts on his crisis choice…the truth of character…the active answer to the question raised in the crisis…”

5. Resolution

“The resolution…is crucial for the reader or viewer to fully metabolize the story.”

All quotes from The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know by Shawn Coyne

For a full and wonderful explanation of each of these elements, visit www.storygrid.com by Shawn Coyne.

Start here: http://www.storygrid.com/466/ “The Five Commandments of Storytelling or go here: https://storygrid.com/five-commandments-of-storytelling/

Your turn: Share the 5 elements of 1 or 2 of your scenes.


Possible opening scene for my next romance novel about Hank and Isabelle, tentatively called The Alchemy of Love.

1. Hank, a night security guard at a specialized university archaeology research center hears a strange sound in the lab and goes to investigate. (Inciting Incident)

2. He sees a stranger approaching one of the researchers and calls after him. The stranger runs, and Hank runs after him through the building exit into the back alley behind the building. (Progressive Complication)

3. Should he follow the stranger farther and leave the researcher alone or stay in the lab and have no further clues for the police? (Crisis)

4. He doesn’t follow the stranger, but calls the police. His first duty is to the lab, its artifacts, and researchers. (Climax)

5. He feels satisfied that he did his job well and that the researcher, Isabelle, feels safe. (Resolution)

Your turn:

In the comments, share the five elements of 1 or 2 of your scenes.

Complete and Continue